Can You Safely Refreeze Ham?

How to Safely Refreeze Ham and What to Do with All That Tasty Meat

Ham. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

When it comes to saving money on your grocery bill, making an effort not to be wasteful is one of the best money-saving strategies. Many frugal families resort to the freezer to preserve surplus food and leftovers. But what if this is the second freeze and thaw go-round? Can you safely refreeze ham?

How to Freeze and Refreeze Ham

Yes, you can refreeze ham (both cooked or uncooked) as long as it has been thawed in the refrigerator (Other methods of thawing aren't recommended).

For safety purposes, ham should be refrozen within three days of thawing. There may be a slight change in quality due to the moisture lost during thawing, which can affect the texture of your defrosted meat. Do not refreeze ham that's been left outside the refrigerator longer than two hours. Here's how to package your meat, so it doesn't get freezer-burned.

If you have a lot of ham to freeze, think about dividing it into smaller portions before you stick it in the freezer. This will allow you to pull out individual packages without having to thaw out the whole ham, thereby maintaining the quality of your ham and allowing you to enjoy it over a longer period of time.

How to Thaw Your Ham

To use your ham after it's been frozen (or refrozen), remove the package of frozen ham from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator. Depending on the size, it should thaw completely in about 24 to 48 hours.

If you're dealing with a smaller portion, or need to thaw it out faster, use this trick to thaw your ham in as little as 30 minutes.

Don't Forget to Freeze the Ham Bone

Be sure to freeze the ham bone, while you're at it. It can be used to make a delicious pot of soup or broth. Check out these tasty uses for ham bones.

Just be warned: Once you taste ham broth, you may never settle for chicken broth again.

Uses for Leftover Ham

If you'd prefer to use your ham right away, try some of these leftover ham recipes. Many of these recipes also freeze well. Make a big pot of soup and freeze part (or all) of it to enjoy on nights when you're too busy to cook. When you're short on time, having ready-made meals in the freezer that you can pull out and reheat is a real luxury.

Keep Up with What's in Your Freezer

Be sure to label your ham before you put it in the freezer, so you don't lose track of it. Here are some free printable labels that you can use. And here's a printable freezer inventory list that you can use to remind yourself of what's in your freezer. Keep it attached to the outside of the door, so you don't have to rummage around in a cold freezer to see what you have on hand. You'll want to keep the freezer door closed as much as possible, to preserve the cool air keeping your food fresh. And having an inventory list makes meal planning a lot easier, too.

Want to learn more about refreezing foods? Check out the USDA website: USDA Safe Food Handling